Sunday, November 13, 2011

Signs of good things to come

I can now wholeheartedly recommend actually training for a Half Marathon. 


I was surprised at how nervous I was for this race.  I'd had three less than optimal runs this week that didn't do much for my confidence.  Saturday was all about the details:  what to wear, how to use my watch, what time to arrive.  Luckily, I have a very detail-oriented coach who loves getting into this stuff.  Seriously, we were discussing the blend of polyester and spandex in my tights to determine whether or not they would be appropriate for the slightly warmer than anticipated temperatures (they were).  And he gave me the ok to use not just the virtual partner, but also the advanced workouts in my garmin (so I could have a visual on pace and an auditory alert if my heart rate exceeded the prescribed zone for each portion of the race).

Sunday morning with my wardrobe approved and my watch programmed, I felt ready.  I got to the race course early, and got a great parking spot.  The race began and ended at the Newton South High School, which was great to have a structure to wait in and indoor plumbing!  I caught up with a few friends, and before long it was 7:05, time to warm up.  I ran my 16 minute warm up, ate a gel, drank some water and headed for the start line. 

Despite having finely tuned my garmin, as I was attempting to lock the bezel, I managed to start the watch.  I think about 30 seconds elapsed by the time I realized this and stopped it.  I didn't have time to reset the watch, so I just restarted it when the gun went off.  This meant that when I started running, I was already well behind my virtual partner.  I tried to stay a consistent number of seconds behind the VP.

And that worked until I got to the first hill.  You see, This course covers some of the heart break hill area from the Boston Marathon.  I've heard it referred to as the Chilly Hilly Half.  I was prepared for the "big hill" at 5.6 miles, but there was still a fair bit of "undulation" before you got there.  I decided as I floated down a hill, pulling my VP back to 10 seconds ahead of me that this was ok.  Having an average 7:45 was the goal, I can't expect to go the same speed uphill as downhill, and I might as well take advantage of the free speed on the downhill.

Touring some expensive neighborhoods in the western suburbs of Boston, the miles peeled off. It was mile 10, and I was feeling pretty good, but also getting a bit anxious to be done.  I wanted to pick up the pace, but of course the plan was to stick to the 7:45s til 11.1.  And I was very glad that I did.  I picked it up at 11 and started passing people, only to hit one last hill at 12 that allowed some one to pass me back.  Ok, none of that, keep picking people off.  Just as the finish line came into view, a woman sprinted up next to me.  No way.  I dig deep, find my last ounce of effort, and sprint past her, finishing 2 seconds ahead.

I came in in 1:40:02.  Two minutes faster than my goal and over six minutes improvement on my previous PR.  And 10th in my age group out of 154.  This race gives me a lot of confidence for the coming season.

Of course in every race, there are things that you could do better, in this one, I did not negative split.  As best I can tell I ran 49:55 for the first half and 50:04 in the second (oh, and according to my watch the course was short by about a tenth of a mile).  And the first half of the course had more climbs (247 ft versus 146 ft), so that only accentuates my getting slower over the race. 

My shin felt ok throughout the race.  Not recovered, but it didn't bother me.  In fact, right now the thing that's bothering me most is my left hip.  Maybe it was all the climbing or descending, but it's very sore.  Regardless, both will have 3 weeks to recover with no running as I take a break to try to get back to injury-free running.


1 comments:

Shannon November 17, 2011 at 12:54 PM  

Congrats!! Sorry I missed cheering you guys on, but it seems as though you didn't need it ;) Rest up, and hopefully that hip will be better in no time!

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